King's Indian Attack

The King's Indian Attack (or KIA), also known as the Barcza System (after Gedeon Barcza), is a chess opening system for White.

King's Indian Attack
e4 white pawn
d3 white pawn
f3 white knight
g3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white knight
f2 white pawn
g2 white bishop
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
f1 white rook
g1 white king
Typical KIA setup for White against semi-open defenses by Black
MovesOpening system involving moves e4, d3, Nd2, Ngf3, g3, Bg2, and 0-0
Barcza System

The opening is not a series of specific moves, but rather a system that can be played from many different move orders. Though the KIA is often reached via 1.e4 followed by d3, Nd2 (or Qe2), Ngf3, g3, Bg2, and 0-0, it can also arise from 1.g3, 1.Nf3, or even 1.d3.


The KIA is a mirror image of the setup adopted by Black in the King's Indian Defence. Yet, because of White's extra tempo, the nature of the subsequent play is often different from that of a typical King's Indian Defence.

By its nature, the KIA is a closed, strategic opening that presents its practitioner with common themes and tactics and a comfortable middlegame against various defences. White's most common plan involves a central pawn push, e4–e5, leading to a central bind, kingside space, and concrete attacking chances on a kingside-castled black king. Black's resources—more queenside space for example—are not to be underestimated. In fact, this asymmetry often leads to violent middlegames and neatly constructed mating nets involving sacrifices.

Piece manoeuvreEdit

The KIA is characterised by a fianchetto and developing its knights to d2 and f3 respectively. White also maintains king safety by castling kingside. White also has a good control of the centre.


The KIA is often used against the semi-open defences where Black responds asymmetrically to e4, such as in the French Defence, Sicilian Defence, or Caro–Kann Defence. Yet it can also be played against Black's more common closed defenses, usually through a move order that begins with 1.Nf3 and a later fianchetto of the white-square bishop. For this reason, transpositions to the Réti Opening, Catalan Opening, English opening or even the Nimzo-Larsen Attack (after b3 and Bb2) are not uncommon.

The KIA is considered a solid opening choice for White, although less ambitious than many more popular openings. Though rarely used at the highest levels except to avoid certain pet lines, it is extremely popular at the club level, because it is easier to learn than other openings that require memorising specific move orders to avoid bad positions.

Barcza SystemEdit

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3

King's Indian Attack (A07) is 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 (see diagram). Common Black responses are 2...Nf6, 2...c6, 2...Bg4, 2...c5, and 2...g6. Then White can play 3.Bg2.

King's Indian Attack (A08) is 1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 c5 3.Bg2.

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Bg4 3.Bg2 Nd7 is the Keres Variation.

Transposition from other linesEdit

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 d5
1.Nf3 c5 2.g3 d5

Transposition to other linesEdit

1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.d4 (D02)

Famous gamesEdit

The following games are perhaps the most famous examples of the KIA.

  • FischerMyagmarsuren, Sousse Interzonal 1967
    1.e4 e6 2.d3 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.g3 c5 5.Bg2 Nc6 6.Ngf3 Be7 7.0-0 0-0 8.e5 Nd7 9.Re1 b5 10.Nf1 b4 11.h4 a5 12.Bf4 a4 13.a3 bxa3 14.bxa3 Na5 15.Ne3 Ba6 16.Bh3 d4 17.Nf1 Nb6 18.Ng5 Nd5 19.Bd2 Bxg5 20.Bxg5 Qd7 21.Qh5 Rfc8 22.Nd2 Nc3 23.Bf6 Qe8 24.Ne4 g6 25.Qg5 Nxe4 26.Rxe4 c4 27.h5 cxd3 28.Rh4 Ra7 29.Bg2 dxc2 30.Qh6 Qf8 31.Qxh7+ 1–0[1]
  • RétiRubinstein, Karlsbad 1923
    1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.c4 d4 5.d3 Bg7 6.b4 0-0 7.Nbd2 c5 8.Nb3 cxb4 9.Bb2 Nc6 10.Nbxd4 Nxd4 11.Bxd4 b6 12.a3 Bb7 13.Bb2 bxa3 14.Rxa3 Qc7 15.Qa1 Ne8 16.Bxg7 Nxg7 17.0-0 Ne6 18.Rb1 Bc6 19.d4 Be4 20.Rd1 a5 21.d5 Nc5 22.Nd4 Bxg2 23.Kxg2 Rfd8 24.Nc6 Rd6 25.Re3 Re8 26.Qe5 f6 27.Qb2 e5 28.Qb5 Kf7 29.Rb1 Nd7 30.f3 Rc8 31.Rd3 e4 32.fxe4 Ne5 33.Qxb6 Nxc6 34.c5 Rd7 35.dxc6 Rxd3 36.Qxc7+ Rxc7 37.exd3 Rxc6 38.Rb7+ Ke8 39.d4 Ra6 40.Rb6 Ra8 41.Rxf6 a4 42.Rf2 a3 43.Ra2 Kd7 44.d5 g5 45.Kf3 Ra4 46.Ke3 h5 47.h4 gxh4 48.gxh4 Ke7 49.Kf4 Kd7 50.Kf5 1–0[2]
  • Another example is Garry Kasparov–Deep Blue, 1997 match, game 5.


  1. ^ "Robert James Fischer vs Lhamsuren Myagmarsuren (1967) "A Night In Tunisia"". Retrieved 2007-04-19.
  2. ^ Richard Reti vs Akiba Rubinstein (1923) "Reti to Roll"


  • Dunnington, Angus (1998): The Ultimate King's Indian Attack, London: B.T.Batsford Ltd, ISBN 0-7134-8222-2
  • Eggers, Heiko (2008): Theorie der Eröffnung - Königsindischer Angriff - Das Spielsystem mit dem Aufbau Sf3/g3/Lg2/0-0/d3/Sbd2/, Norderstedt: Books on Demand, ISBN 978-3-8334-3194-4
  • Emms, John (2005): starting out: king's Indian attack, London: Everyman Chess, ISBN 1-85744-394-2
  • Smith, Ken and Hall, John (1988): King's Indian Attack – A Complete Opening System also a Weapon to be used against ..., Dallas Texas: Chess Digest, ISBN 0-87568-174-3

Further readingEdit

  • Hall, John (1972): A Complete Opening System for White: King's Indian Attack, Dallas: Chess Digest Magazine, no ISBN
  • Weinstein, Norman (1976): The King's Indian Attack, Dallas: Chess Digest Magazine, no ISBN
  • Schiller, Eric (1989): How To Play The Kings Indian Attack, Moon Township: Chess Enterprises, ISBN 0-931462-95-9
  • Norwood, David (1991): King's Indian Attack, London: Trends Publications, without ISBN
  • Tangborn, Eric (1992): A Fischer Favorite: The King's Indian Attack – with 46 fully annotated Games, o.O.: International Chess Enterprises, ISBN 1-879479-07-9
  • Dunnington, Angus (1993): How to Play - The King's Indian Attack - Openings, London: B.T. Batsford Ltd, ISBN 0-8050-2933-8
  • Henley, Ron and Hodges, Paul (1993): Power Play - The King's Indian Attack, Hagerstown: R&D Publishing, ISBN 1-883358-02-7
  • Henley, Ron and Maddox, Don (1993): The ChessBase University BlueBook Guide To Winning With - The King's Indian Attack, Hagerstown: R&D Publishing, ISBN 1-883358-00-0
  • Hall, John and Cartier, Jan R. (1996): Modern King's Indian Attack – A Complete System for White, Dallas Texas: Hays Publishing, ISBN 1-880673-11-8
  • New In Chess Yearbook (1998): King's Indian Attack: Black castles kingside, Alkmaar: Interchess BV, Vol. 49, ISBN 90-5691-044-2, p. 186-190
  • New In Chess Yearbook (1999): King's Indian Attack, Alkmaar: Interchess BV, Vol. 50, ISBN 90-5691-047-7, p. 182-186
  • Maddox, Don (2002): Königsindischer Angriff - Schach Training, Hamburg: ChessBase GmbH, ISBN 3-935602-51-0
  • New In Chess Yearbook (2005): King's Indian Attack, Alkmaar: Interchess BV, Vol. 76, ISBN 90-5691-155-4, p. 228-232
  • Dzindzichashvili, Roman (2005): Easy Way to Learn The King's Indian Attack, Internet:, Roman's Lab, Volume 28, Nr. 7-37885-35839-1
  • Davies, Nigel (2008): King's Indian Attack, Hamburg: ChessBase GmbH, fritztrainer opening, ISBN 978-3-86681-071-6

External linksEdit